Lady Spartans place second Tri-Valley Conference championship

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

It might not have been exactly the result they were hoping for, but that does not mean that the Berthoud High School girls swimming and diving team should be anything other than elated with their performance at last weekend’s Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) championships at the Dick Hewson Aquatic Center at Thompson Valley in Loveland

Berthoud entered the meet hoping to defend the TVC title they won a season ago, their first season competing as a Berthoud High team. This season, with tougher competition from new conference entrants Holy Family and Liberty Common, the Lady Spartans placed second in the eight-team championship meet.

Berthoud finished with 279 team points, not far behind 321 accumulated by first-place Holy Family, a private school from the Denver suburbs, and ahead of Liberty Common, a charter school located in Fort Collins, who finished in third with 202 points. Eaton (122 points), Holyoke (106), Estes Park (100), Valley (93) and Skyline (71) rounded out the scoring.

In individual competition, Berthoud saw two swimmers bring home gold medals. Standout junior Jamie Dellwardt took first in the 200-yard individual medley, clocking in at 2:14.90 in the final race after posting 2:17.85 in prelims. Fellow-junior Kysa Keck took the top spot on the podium in the 100-yard butterfly, her season-best time of 1:05.12 coming in the finals.

“Hitting the wall and seeing the first place, I was just overwhelmed with joy and so proud of all the work I put in,” Keck said of her emotions after completing the 100 fly and realizing she won gold.

Dellwardt and Keck are two of 10 Lady Spartans who qualified for the state meet that takes place in Thornton this Friday and Saturday. Arika Beard and Marin Kasperbauer will join Dellwardt and Keck on the 200-yard medley relay team at state. Beard also swims on the 200-yard freestyle relay team with Keck, Abby Dodd and Hannah Roberts, which will also represent Berthoud at the state championships.

Beard will compete at state individually in the 100-yard butterfly, Kasperbauer will race in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races. Roberts will swim in the 200-yard freestyle and in the 500-yard freestyle endurance race with Kristina Ball. Trinity Payne joins Dellwardt as a state qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke, where Dellwardt placed second as a sophomore last season. Junior Sarah McCormick will compete in the one-meter diving competition at state and, along with Macy Fitzgerald, serves as an alternate on both state-qualifying relay teams.

What is perhaps most remarkable about Keck’s win in the 100 fly is the fact that this was her first season competing in the event. As the junior explained, “At the beginning of the season I didn’t do the 100 fly, I didn’t swim fly at all, last season I did 50 free and 100 free and this season my coach said ‘I’m going to put you in fly and see what happens’ so there was a lot of growing this season and it was amazing getting first, I was not expecting that going in and hitting best times in both heats was pretty great.”

Nearly two months ago on Dec. 10 in a dual with Holyoke at Loveland High, Keck swam her first competitive race in the 100 fly and posted a time of 1:13.25. By the time finals were over at the TVC championships, Keck had shaved over eight seconds off her time in the race. In both events she competed in last weekend, Keck posted season-best times. She shaved nearly two seconds off her time in the 50-yard freestyle sprint race, improving from 29.08 in early December to 27.23 last weekend.

Even though the state championship is just days away, Keck explained there are ways to practice and hopefully, cut a few tenths here and there off her times, but that the preparation will be mostly mental. As she explained, “I’m definitely going to work on the little things you can work on, like my turns could always be better, my underwaters, really just focusing on mentally preparing for my races.”

“Just being a part of the team, our coaches are amazing, Krista (Markell) and Matt (Goldsmith), they’re the best coaches I’ve ever had, and it’s just been really, truly amazing watching everyone grow on the team,” Keck explained. “It’s been incredible to be a part of it.”

The 3A state championship swimming and diving meet will be held this Friday and Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton.

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